Thursday, April 12, 2018

Chapter 140: Failure Rating

 Cute birb. Cannot get art done. Birb is too cute.

Apollo goes with her friend Severino to his house after school.

She's surprised when the boy's mother chases them outside to do their homework. Their home is small, and Cara is expecting her latest boyfriend to visit this afternoon. She doesn't want children underfoot.

"This is why I prefer your place," Sev grumbles.

Apollo frowns. They work on their math problems quietly for a while, the only noise coming from the warm summer breeze. Polly and Sev have an agreement when it comes to math homework. She'll do the odd numbered problems, and he'll do the even numbers.

Apollo finishes her work first and relocates to the grass to play. She's suddenly chatty again, distracting her friend and impeding his progress on the maths, but he doesn't mind.

"My great-great grandpa made this toy. I bet he would have gotten along great with my mom."

"Your mom is objectively the coolest mom," Sev says.

Apollo's friends are all jealous of the massive amount of toys in the Whitfield-Robins home. When she tells them it's because her mother just loves having toys around, they're always floored.

Olive's favorite toy is a vampire Scary Bear™ in a pink suit.

Not that she knows what a vampire even is.

She had to be taught the cats weren't toys at all.

Olive and Holland eventually join Apollo in the child stage.

Holland looks a lot like his father. Especially with that haircut.

The twins have no shortage of stuff to play with.

Their dollhouse roleplay stories get quite intricate.

Currently they're acting out a murder mystery.

With Ceth out of the household, presumably terrorizing Bridgeport or whatever town Acheron and Claire have run off to, Holland gets to take over Ceth's old bedroom.

Olive takes up residence in her sister's room.

Their parents metaphorically hold their breath, waiting for their daughters to start fighting, but that never happens. They're both just too easy to get along with.

When it becomes clear the nursery won't have to end up being Olive's bedroom, Molly feels free to remove the cribs and fill every available space with toys.

Dysen finds it hard to believe this was, at one point, his bedroom.

Unfortunately childhood is a troubling time for young werewolves, who chafe against authority and must be taught to control their nature.

Holland's first full change starts with pained screams that fade into little yipping cries. The waves of agony are followed by a sense of power. The world around the youngster seems to have changed; he can smell differences in the composition of the soil under his feet, and catch the tiny movement of insect wings in a tree far away in his peripheral vision. The claws jutting out of his fingers ache to rip into something.

Holland crouches down and tears into the grass. He is horrified by the compulsion, by the feel of the dirt on his skin and nails, but he can't control himself.

"You get used to it," his father promises. It's important to know how to handle oneself in this state, since it can be triggered at inconvenient moments.

The dangers of being discovered by 'normal people' cannot be stressed hard enough.

Dysen shows his son routes through the woods that should be safe. Even here, they cannot let their guard down, but their heightened perceptions should allow them to pick out signs of other stray sims long before the werewolves would ever be spotted. It's far more risky to travel as a werewolf through the town streets, where people are pretty much everywhere.

Holland has a hard time understanding how things could go so wrong. His father told his mother about being a werewolf, and obviously that went fine.

"I don't think there's a conspiracy or any fairies," he mumbles, ostensibly to his twin but just loud enough for his parents to overhear. "They just want something to threaten us with so we behave."

"But I looked up werewolves, and they're supposed to be fake," Olive points out. "Yet here you are. So I think there is a conspiracy."

See what I have to put up with? Dysen mouths to his wife.

Molly frowns awkwardly.

"Rawwwr I'm a horrible werewolf! You are no match for me!"

Apollo thought her baby brother would be less annoying when he grew out of clawing apart her stuff.

 However, annoying as he can be, her brother is her brother, and she thinks he's kind of adorable.

That night, a fire breaks out outside one of the bistro rabbitholes.

Katarina Bledsoe, Angelita Lee, Amanda Platt-Chen and some other women are... um... not so much caught in the blaze, as standing near the blaze and screaming. They've all been drinking at the bar I guess. What else could explain such stupidity?

Angelita had to cut her hair for her job. RIP oversized sphere hair buns.

"You're on fire!" Katarina screams.

Angelita Lee is on fire.

"Won't somebody save us?!" Amanda cries.

I get tired of watching the screaming and send Dysen to put out the fire.

Dysen just so happens to have been out hunting, and smelled the raging inferno! He changed back to his short-eared form, hopped in one of the cars and drove out to take a look, only to find a huge pillar of smoke rising into the air from behind the spa or thereabouts, such and such. 

"Has anyone called the fire department?!" he snaps.

"You know, we're liberated women," Angelita complains, taking issue with Dysen's tone. "We don't need you to save us."

With those words, Angelita's "on fire" moodlet expires, reducing her to a pile of ashes.

"Nooooo!" Katarina wails, more worried for herself than anything. She's too paralyzed by fright to move from the spot. "Don't listen to her! Please save us!"

Grim waits for the fire to be put out before showing up for Angelita's soul.

"I didn't start the fire!" Angelita begs for her life, but Grim never, ever cares.

Dysen can't watch the reaping. "Well this is awful!"

Katarina pulls him in for a hug. At least someone is grateful.

"Local Celebrity Saves a Dozen Damsels in Distress," Molly reads the headlines the next morning. "Dysen Whitfield, a palm reader of some renown, put out a fire late last night just outside Gilded Grapes, a small restaurant. One woman, Angelita Lee, perished in the blaze before it was extinguished. No one else was hurt."

"Poor Angelita," Dysen whines. "We went to school with her!"

Molly continues, "Katarina Bledsoe, who stood near Lee as she died, commented that she would have called the fire department, but she was too frightened to move. One witness who did not want to be named speculated Whitfield may have set the blaze himself as a publicity stunt"

"Assholes!" Dysen growls.

"but multiple other witnesses claim it was the fault of an improperly handled ghost chili. Gilded Grapes was closed for the night, but it has been confirmed that the offending chili did indeed originate from its kitchens. The restaurant's owner, Piero Ferrari, has promised to remove the dangerous cuisine from their menu and may be facing fines. A memorial service for Lee is scheduled for tomorrow."

Dysen shovels a spoonful of breakfast into his mouth.

"You're a hero!" Molly tries to cheer him up.

"None of this is funny."

"You're a grumpy hero."

"There weren't a dozen damsels, either. I told you there were like four. And one died. That's a twenty-five percent failure rating."

"Let's see what else, then. Hmmmm. There's a sale at Delfina's Diner.... the city wants people to vote on a redesign for the festival grounds... construction on that dance club delayed again... other obituaries... something something about the moon..."

Dysen quirks an eyebrow. "The moon?"

"Um, yes. Ahem." Molly pauses before shifting into a more theatrical announcer tone, "Bringing Phases Back! The Moon As You've Only Seen in Pictures. Scientists have worked out the centuries old glitches in the moon projector, and the moon is supposed to resume an approximation of the ancient lunar cycle later this week."

"What a waste of money." Dysen is not impressed.

Molly winks at him. "I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of full moon jokes though."

It doesn't take long for Dysen (and everyone else) to notice the moon looks a little different every night.

The festival grounds are decked out for autumn. Dysen takes his three children there on a weekend night, so he isn't swamped with idiots wanting a free fortune.

"My teacher said apple bobbing is disgusting," Ollie goes on about germ theory. She's a good student, always eager to learn and share what she's learned.

Aside from treats and games, one of the main draws here is the pumpkin patch, where each visitor may pay to harvest a pumpkin. Carlos's pumpkin plants have long since died, and pumpkin preserves don't make for great jack-o-lanterns.

"I really want to enter the pie eating contest," Ollie hints for the third time.

"That's for adults," Dysen grumbles. "I'm not bringing you back home tonight with tummy aches because you wanted to cram more pie down your face hole than a bunch of fat grown adults."

"Awww," the three children whine in unison.

"I'm old enough for the haunted house though, right?" Apollo pleads.

Holland is left out when his father and sisters explore the haunted house. Dysen is worried Holland could be frightened by the tacky jump scares and inadvertently change into a werewolf. Dejected, Holland climbs onto one of the spring riders and waits for them.

He stubbornly refuses to show interest later on when his father shows off one of Craft's fortune telling tricks—the magic mirror of mystery and magnificence.

It's just a hologram, but the incantations and exaggerated language Dysen uses to address the interactive display amuse Olive and Apollo.

"Yay!" Olive claps. "It's like magic!"

"A good performer can make any boring old thing magical," Dysen yawns.

The obviously fake moon looms in the sky as the family roasts marshmallows behind the fortune telling vardos.

Ugh, look at it. You can see stars where the dark part of the moon should be. The dark part of the moon is a shadow, EA. The moon doesn't shapeshift into a croissant.

"Doing okay, Hol?"

Holland glares at his father. "I don't know. Should I really be holding this pointy stick? Accidents could happen."

"I thought my father was a hardass too," Dysen admits. "Now I understand how he felt about it."

"I think we should keep Hollie inside on the full moon night, just in case," Apollo chirps.

Holland turns his anger on his big sister, "Get fucked, Polly."

"Hol. That is no way to talk to your sister." Dysen's warning is monotone and unconvincing.

Holland bares his teeth. "I'm not going to change just because the picture in the sky is different! That's stupid! It's unscientific!"

"Yeah he's never freaked out when we see pictures of full moons," Olive tries to stick up for her twin.

Apollo nibbles carefully on her blackened marshmallow. "Ohmygaw Ollie. Werewolfism is a curse. Curses have to be very specific."

Olive pouts. "But it's not the real moon."

"You know what?" Dysen raises his voice. "We'll both stay home that day, just to be safe."

"I hate all of you," Holland whines.

Apollo blows a kiss at him. "You love us."

Unwilling to leave on a sour note, Dysen encourages the children to play on the playground equipment for a little while before they head home.

Holland is too excited about getting to stay up this late to stay mad.

Etc.: I got around to disabling the full moon lighting and turned the lunar cycle on. Yaaay???


  1. Aw, they are such an adorable family rn. Even with the occasional squabbling. Holly is adorable when he's mad, lol.

    I'm obsessed with the house's decor this generation! You managed to make the toys and kid stuff everywhere look cute and not goofy at all <3

    RIP Angelita :/

    1. I'm glad you like the house! =D

      I felt bad about Angelita, but not bad enough to quit the game without saving.

  2. Molly is Obsessed!! Dysen has married a hoarder, but he probably doesn't think much of that fact. (I love how you used the holographic easel for that mountain painting, I don't make them because I'm worried they'll loo weird but that one came out so great!)

    G*d dammit I loved this one xD The feminists on fire LMAO... it's too good...!!

    Dysen's face looks like he's almost sorry he stopped xD Too bad Acheron isn't there to say something awkward and snap him out of his guilty funk.

    1. The mountains painting is actually from the street art skill (University Life). :D

  3. It's interesting to see how Dysen has matured. Not just the way he worries about the children's safety, but also how he has become somewhat jaded over time. I've been thinking about the previous chapter recently and how the dynamic between Acheron and Dysen shifted. Now Acheron seems like the carefree one and poor Dysen is all gloom and doom! Very nice arcs for both of them.

    Agreeing with Big Mud, the house looks awesome! Molly's playful decor is so cute, and I really like Holland's new room too!

    1. Thank you! <3

      Acheron is, for the moment, happy to be with Claire and Harcourt for what little time he'll have them, and he's committed to the future he's chosen... whereas as a teen, he was deeply confused and conflicted.

      Dysen, meanwhile, felt more confident and sure of himself as a teenager... when he didn't have kids to look after! Now he's ten kinds of terrified. Though he's supposed to be this suave persona at work. I'm probably not conveying that very well.

    2. Yes, yes you are conveying it very well! :3

  4. Lol, those ghost chili peppers can be deadly!

    It's very interesting to see this side of Dysen as a parent. Better safe than sorry when the full moon comes.

    1. Glad you are interested, because parenting struggles are about to become a major theme. D:

  5. Oh my gosh, that fire scene was brilliant. 25% failure rating indeed! Perfect time to pull out the 'liberated women' speech! XD

    I love how different Dysen is as a parent compared to Carlos. I do feel bad for Holland though, being forced to sit out on everything :(. Must say, I'm looking forward to seeing how you're going to explain the very unscientific werewolf change at full moon. You're always so brilliant at entering lore into a story. <3

    1. Psssh. Obviously they won't change at all, because that wouldn't make any sense! ;D

  6. Oh gosh, that fire was too...funny? Horrifying? Indicative of The Sims? It was fun at the very least. XD

    Aww, Dysen has changed so much and it's bittersweet. I guess that's bound to happen when you have to keep three little people alive.

    1. Parenting really did change everything for him...